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esolar

Post in 'The Green Room' started by potter, Mar 4, 2009.

  1. potter

    potter Feeling the Heat

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    http://www.esolar.com/

    Somebody explain to me why we're not building hundreds of these across the southwest? Heard one of the owners on Science Friday say he could power the entire country with 100 sq. miles. Nationalize Chrysler and convert their factories. After spending billions on starwars defense this would add much more to our security. While we're at it, instead of fixing roads why not stimulate by WPA style construction of a power grid to deliver this and texas wind power to the country. Oh thats right we have to spend money on F22s that aren't being used. We (the public) could own this and profit over time. Oh yeah that's socialism, and here AIG have another check. Ultimately this would save thousands of soldiers lives and lessen our impact on the environment. Were a great country, capable of reaching the moon, mars, this is simple technology- why can't we do this?

    Bit of a morning rant, but wish our leaders could think outside the box.

    Edit: Wile we're at it make most of the unpopulated parts of N/S. Dakota a national prairie park dotted with wind towers and maybe the occasional modern nuclear plant and let the buffalo roam between...... Lots of jobs for the locals who are left. We could do all this with not much more money than we're funneling into the pockets of Wall Street so they can keep their children at Harvard and Yale training to be our future masters.

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  2. jdemaris

    jdemaris New Member

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    At present, this country (the USA) is so wasteful when it comes to energy use, we'd get back much more return on a dollar if it was spent on efficiency instead of alternative energy.

    Also, I'm not sure we need Mopar solar panels. Yes, we did use the company in the past. Our military had Chrysler-built Jupiter missles that we installed in Turkey and had pointed at the Soviet Union. That's what led to JFK's Cuban Missle Crisis. We did so at the time because they were best suited to do the job. Now? We already have companies in the USA building solar panels and they're dealing with a silicon shortage. Yeah, silicon is basically found in sand, but there's a special type used for photovoltaic that's in short supply.

    If we were to use an American auto-company it would have to retool - and I'm not sure that makes sense when other companies here are already making panels (e.g. Evergreen in New England).
    If we DO have to use an auto-company, why not use the only one that did not come whining for bail-out funds - i.e. Ford?
  3. potter

    potter Feeling the Heat

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    Didn't mean to be specific about Chrysler, just an easy target.
    Also, I'm technically limited but I don't think these companies (there are a number along with esolar) use any photovoltaic. There using mirrors to direct sun energy at a central boiler.
    The choices seem to be some combo of nuclear, solar, wind, geothermal, and hydro. Other than hydro, there all available in abundance we just lack the will.
    Coal will kill the planet, oil kills our soldiers and entangles us with not nice people.
    I'm not thrilled with the nuclear option either but France, Japan and others have gone there successfully, there's a down side to every chioce.
    I agree that much can be done with conservation and efficiency.
    But really how much would a power grid like this cost compared to the wars we're fighting, or starwars or F22s.
    If the grid was there there might be some legitimacy to free marketeers ideas of private investment in these ideas. That private money would move towards building these plants.
    We built the interstate highways to support Detroit and the holy car- why can't we do this?
  4. jdemaris

    jdemaris New Member

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    My take on is a little simplistic - but this is how I see it. Politicians, in general repond to those they think are going to keep voting them into office. So, what do they see when they look at people in the US? Do they see many individuals trying to be more efficient, or perhaps many installing alternative energy on their own? NO. They see people spending money on vacations, cars, gadgets, etc. but not on the things you've mentioned. So, if more individuals aren't doing it, I can't blame the politicians for not doing something different.

    I agree we could to it, and I have done much on my own. I am also in the vast minority.
  5. potter

    potter Feeling the Heat

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    I guess I see the current moment (new leadership and a public scared and looking into the abyss) as a space when more things are possible. Let's just take all the second houses on the Cape, yachts, Ivy League tuitions, and personal property from the geniuses that have screwed us over. Oh right, they set up corporations and law to protect them from that. Nobody will be foreclosing on them.....
  6. backpack09

    backpack09 Minister of Fire

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    100 square miles of mirrors.... Man I would hate to be the guy with the bottle of windex.
  7. TreePapa

    TreePapa Minister of Fire

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    One thing I heard on NPR is that many large scale solar and other green energy projects have been "on hold" for a while pending the passage of certain solar tax credits. Another limiting factor is said to be the condition of the grid - but if the grid can carry electricity generated w/ coal or nat. gas, it can carry solar generated electricty.

    Peace,
    - Sequoia
  8. potter

    potter Feeling the Heat

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    I think the problem is delivery of large amounts of energy from hot sunny places, or windy Texas to the East and Northwest.
  9. karl

    karl Minister of Fire

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    60 minutes had an episode on Saudia Arabia. They were talking to the oil minister and asked him about what they are doing for renewable energy. Among other things, he said Saudia Arabia is building a solar electric generation system and they plan to export GIGAWATTS of electricity. To export that much electricty, they are going to have to be sending thousands of miles away.

    They seem to have a plan to do it.
  10. backpack09

    backpack09 Minister of Fire

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    To be exact I believe it was "One Point Twenty One Gigawatts."
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjCRUvX2D0E
  11. potter

    potter Feeling the Heat

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    go figure. The Saudis can make this work and we can't?
  12. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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    This technology isnt being totally ignored in the US

    http://www.seia.org/galleries/pdf/CSP_Plants_in_the_US_Final.pdf


    One of the major issues in California is the lack of transmission lines to bring the power from the remote areas where it is generated into the areas where there is the demand. If a solar power plant developer has to permit and build a new transmission line, the project is dead as it costs too much and takes too long. If the regional grid operator proposes it, the communities that the line passes through with no benefit take it to court and the ratepayers advocates insist that its unfair to charge everyone on the gird for the line that only benefits developers. Therefore its a chicken and egg situation

    Saudi Arabia on the other hand just builds the lines and the power plants and fund it off of the oil revenue that is streaming in.
  13. karl

    karl Minister of Fire

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    It's curious that all of those are steam turbine or sterling engine designs. Yet, solar panels are what is used on houses.

    Perhaps someone could develop a smaller home version that doesn't rely on panels.
  14. potter

    potter Feeling the Heat

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    We could build the lines and the plants would be profitable. We can afford to subsidize them with savings from wars, etc..
    As i said we subsidize cars and oil in all sorts of ways.
  15. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    I have a friend whose SIL works for Brightsource. They are building one of these plants right now, I think....maybe more.

    I think it takes a while to scale up with these things -but, you are right, if we dedicated the resources to it, we could do it ...like the moon shot.
  16. Ehouse

    Ehouse Minister of Fire

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    Picture an energy utopia with efficient wind solar and hydro production supplying all of our needs. What's missing? Huge obscene profits. That's why.

    Ehouse
  17. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    The primary answer to the OP question is politics....but I will not elaborate lest we go canward.

    On the engineering side, PV is currently cheaper the CSP, so much so that a lot of CSP projects are being redesigned as big PV farms. The one advantage of CSP over PV is storability. Thermal storage is much cheaper than batteries, but the cycle eff and capital costs roughly double the price of a kWh night versus day. Until we have so much PV that we meet daytime (peak) demand, the market for solar storage will be pretty unfavorable.

    Summary: CSP might have a role in a future green grid with high penetration of renewable power, but until then put your $$ on wind and PV.

    More generally, this is one more example of a technology that is waiting in the wings....ready to be fielded and isn't because the costs are slightly higher than current prices (e.g. less than double with good financing). Engineers have been busy, and they don't scrap technology when it isn't cost effective, they sit on it until it is. This is the main reason I don't think we will be returning to the neolithic or medieval period anytime soon.

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